Coaching Testimonials

“Since we worked together my role has moved on I put a lot of that down to the ILM. Our work together was a big part of ILM which gave me a good grounding on matters - it has helped me to get perspective, to act much more strategically and to assess issues from a much wider context, which itself means they aren't tackled in isolation.”
Stewart Harper, Head of Student Admissions, Leeds Metropolitan University.

“You truly affected me at an important point in my career and I will always hold you and your process of work in the highest regard.”
Madani Younis, Artistic Director, The Bush Theatre.

“As for lasting impact - you definitely had some!! In fact, I do quite often think about you and a couple of very specific things you told me. Firstly, you told me to be careful of the word 'should' and said if I found myself saying 'I should do/ be something' then I should question who said I should. Secondly, you taught me that when interviewing people you should always listen for what people say they love rather than what they like… that has been so helpful so many times. On a more general level, it was so exciting and interesting to do all the stuff we did. It really sparked in me a desire to make sure I tried as hard as I could to understand what makes me tick and what impact I have on other people. I've revisited a lot of those things over the years, but working with you, as it was the first time, was a real revelation.”
Natalie Walker, Director of External Affairs, Cambridge Judge Business School.

“I learnt a great deal and take that confidence and self-belief into what I do today.”
Simon Whittington, Owner, 19 Consultancy Ltd.

“Gill helped me to find routes through previously blocked pathways with humour, empathy and a robustness which challenged and supported in the very best of ways. Her work provided me with a map which is the first thing I turn to, as I navigate the future.”
Janette Robinson, Head of Learning, Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

“I first met Gill Thewlis when I was lucky enough to be chosen for SSP's 2006 Management Development Programme (MDP). She made me think hard about what really makes me tick. She made me realise that I was in charge of how I managed things; how much personal time I gave up; taking negative comments personally and for not being able to effectively escalate. The light bulb eventually went on and I could see that the only person that was in charge of me, and how I allowed myself to be treated, was me!
I can't thank Gill enough, she not only had a positive impact on me during the MDP, but I still call upon the learning from those coaching sessions as a reminder that I am what I allow myself to be and that I am the ruler of my own fate and fortune! ”
Sue Pasko, Freelance IT Consultant.

“We have worked with Gill over four years and her coaching has had a significant impact on our Senior Team in that period. We have repeatedly seen step changes in our senior people’s productivity and potential as a result of her interventions”
Laurence Walker, Chief Executive, SSP Ltd, Halifax.

“Gill can see way ahead of me in the process of managing change, often when it is beyond me, not just because of her professional acumen, but also because personally she has a sixth sense which enables her to walk in another persons shoes.” “When Gill first met me she met a motivator and showed me that I needed to become a leader”…..“I often find myself referring back to her approach and her words”
Director, creative and cultural organisation

“You’ve opened my mind to greater possibilities and helped me to learn to be more self aware…I have a genuine feeling of regaining control of my life…I’ve found you to be extremely effective…You’ve helped me get my sparkle back!”
Deborah Anderson, Feelance Consultant – Previously Head of Communications, Tyne & Wear Museums & Operations Director, Northern Film and Media

“It helped to give me a picture of how I was perceived throughout the business and it forced me to think about my future aspirations. Gill is very good at making you look to the future!!”
Group Financial Controller

“I found clarity of purpose professionally as a result of the work we did and it was really good to have a sounding board. The benefits of the programme will outlast the programme itself – three months on I am 80% towards achieving the goals I set myself, and much more confident that I will reach them ahead of time”
Serial Entrepreneur

“Before the coaching started I spent too much time fire fighting and not doing the correct tasks with Gill’s help I have changed my approach to team and task management which has led to a significant increase in my productivity and also personal happiness. I really enjoyed the whole experience”
Operations Manager

“Gill brings a wealth of business knowledge and experience with her coaching. Our sessions were open and relaxed and having the ability to explore issues openly without judgement proved a very valuable experience”
Senior Programme and Change Manager

“Thank you for helping me tame my gremlin”
Zoe Sladdin, SSP

“Gill brings a lovely gentle style to her engagements, which is both supportive and challenging in the right measure. Only afterwards to you realise how profound the impact of working with her has been. She helps you untangle issues that have had you going round and round in circles for ages and set yourself on the right path for you”
Professor, destined for senior management position, Northern University

Mentoring Testimonials

“Gills style of mentoring and coaching is a breath of fresh air- she understands how real life informs business and vice versa. She never shies away from asking difficult questions or pushing for you to raise the bar- but understands the balance required to get the best from yourself and your business. As a single mum juggling 2 boys and a growing business I have referred back to Gills advice over the 9 years since we first met on many occasions.
Seeing from Gill that you can be warm, funny, understanding yet still incredibly professional and ballsy in the business environment has left a lasting impression on me and I hope I can replicate that for my employees in the future. Gill is one of those pivotal people who come along every so often in life for a short time, at the right time and they make a lasting difference ”
Rhian Kempadoo-Millar, Director/Designer, Kempadoo Millar Ltd

“I met Gill for the first time about 7 years ago when I was in the early stages of my career in the arts. At the time I was daunted by her commercial approach and yet being exposed to that perspective so early on has had a much greater impact on my journey than I would have given credit for at the time. Gill's input taught me to consider the value of my activities, how they impact on the wider world and perhaps most significantly to consider who would be willing to pay for either my skills or the work that I make. I believe I have made work that has had value to other people as well as myself as a result - which for me is the whole point.”
Beth Goddard, Artist, Producer

“When driving a business forward there is so many things to think of in the day to day running that the person leading it can become the servant of the business rather than the business being a servant for them and what they want to achieve in life. Gill armoured me with clear guidance on how to decipher what I wanted and how my business could get me there, which products would work for me personally and be successful in the market place. She also lifted the vale on the value of my products so that in the future I had a better idea on how to price them. What is remarkable is that all of this was done in a day.”
Jamie Wardley, Sand in Your Eye.

“You have armed me with the structures on research and pricing to enable me to make decisions not to mention the confidence and methods to avoid stress. I feel inspired and spurred on.”
Jane Eastwood, Textile Designer.

“Artists can be a hair-brained, wild-eyed bunch and I was certainly fairly manic and fraught when Gill first became a mentor/advisor for me as part of the Social Enterprise Support Scheme. Promenade Promotions is a social enterprise – entirely project-funded, which punches way above its weight on a national level. My work reaches hundreds through our workshop programme, thousands through performance and millions of listeners through regular Radio 4 broadcasts - all achieved with a staff of 1 + 1 part-time support worker…a recipe for both creativity and collapse through exhaustion! Gill calmly, patiently and knowledgably helped to provide a more structured framework for both my professional and personal goals. Sometimes, our meetings felt rather like therapy sessions as we tried to disentangle the company vision from my personal crises, but with clear, consistent, objective analysis, Gill identified the need "to make best use of my grey hair"…an image which has stayed with me as something of a mantra, for it is not possible to burn incandescently interminably. I had refused to acknowledge a shift had occurred in my life as well as my work and that I was no longer 'a bright young thing', but someone with experience and knowledge that was both distinctive and valuable. Gill encouraged me to leave the past and embrace the present – to consider my life as a whole and that to be healthy in home life provides the basis for a healthier professional life. Our work together lasted for about 3 years and in that time, I learned a lot from her. The company moved to the South West, I actively pursued non-arts opportunities through universities and archives in particular and as a result, the company has remained secure in the teeth of a vicious recession and a philistine age of government. So now I revel in being a hair-brained, wild-eyed evangelist for the popular arts in Britain…oh and by the way, I don’t dye my hair!”
Tony Lidington, Director, Producer, Writer, Broadcaster, Educator & Clown.

“Gill's mentoring resulted in and supported my move from a junior curatorial role to an Artistic Director role. Gill was someone that i could trust, confide in and rely upon at a demanding time. She led me through an exploration of my motivations, talents and weaknesses. She was critical in her feedback. Her judgements and advice were highly insightful and enabling.”
Anna Reid, Director, Pavilion.

Consultancy Testimonials

“Over the years Aperté has provided Rural Arts with excellent support in organisational development, business area review and with the feasibility and development of our building base The Old Courthouse in Thirsk. Gill has a calm and objective presence with a strong business focus, which is both challenging and motivational. She has helped provide Rural Arts with a firm strategic steer enabling us to grow both our services and personnel. Gill’s independent eye always provides a fresh, creative and exciting perspective.”
Angela Hall, Director, Rural Arts.

“My abiding memory is that you can go in to an organisation for a day and come out with a first class report on what worked, what needed doing and what the wobbles were! We had some great fun with Modelling Sustainability that was really before its time and not fully valued by the recipients or the arts development / funding agencies.”
Malcolm Warrington, Director at CDI Alliance Ltd, Formerly at Arts Council England, Yorkshire.

“What stayed with me from working with Gill over the years is her empathy and knowledge of the business community as well as the arts and cultural organisations that she works in. She has a strong sense of what it is to develop strategy and how to do so with the full empowerment of a team; she reads situations with and astute mind, is clear and honest what she has to offer and conducts work with full professionalism to any situation given.”
Wieke Eringa, Director, Yorkshire Dance.

“We asked Gill to facilitate discussions between all levels of staff and management during the design stages of our new arts and civic building, Junction. Her carefully devised questions and gentle, stimulating probing invited them to drill down quite deeply into areas such as identity, ambience, purpose and appearance for this multi-purpose space. The result was a helpful blueprint for the architects, who were able to take inspiration and suggest design solutions which are still evident today in both the physical building and the running of our award-winning facility. Talk about long-term effect!”
Charlie Studdy, Director, Junction, Goole.

“We contacted Gill at a time when the organisation was planning to implement enormous change. Gill helped the Sheffield Docfest team to put in place a strategic plan that helped us to grow exponentially over the following years. Our organisation delivers multiple services and products and Gill helped us to visualise it as a whole picture where each element related to each other and this helped the team work together to implement the changes that could help us grow.”
Heather Croall, Director, Sheffield Doc/Fest

“What I’ve always respected about Gill is her consummate professionalism and her ability to take every hurdle or knock back with exceptionally good humour and then get on and deliver! This has made her a great colleague to work with and the collaborative experience enjoyable and rewarding as a result. I hope that we join forces again soon so that we can find some new opportunities to work together on in the future.”
Alison Edbury, Director, &Co Cultural Marketing

“I found her focused, analytical, and very aware of the issues that confront companies working in the cultural sector. Over a relatively short period she was able to get inside the organisation and focus on the key elements that underpin their work. This clarity of thought, and the mechanisms she adopted to engage with all those involved, has resulted in a most valuable assessment which the Board has now agreed to take forward into the detailed planning stage.”
Murray Edwards, Executive Director Wakefield Theatre Trust.

“Intelligent and thoughtful preparation for our Board Away Day, which enabled an environment and process for useful debate. The day acted as a catalyst for a re-structure of my Board, which is allowing more strategic thinking and a closer working relationship with staff members”
Mark Skipper, Chief Executive, Northern Ballet Theatre

“Gill quickly got to the heart of the issues in our business and helped us to tackle them. Her style was supportive yet direct – when something needed to be said or challenged it was – and that helped us move forward, particularly in areas where personal attitudes were impeding progress. Gill was also effective in keeping the team and each individual on track and ensuring that the “homework” got done. One of the issues in a small business is that there is never time to work on things outside of the “day job”, but Gill helped to keep us focused and to deliver process improvements quicker than we could have achieved alone. Gill also brought us valuable insight from her previous business experience. Overall Gill’s contribution to Rare via the project was to make us think about solving business issues in a more structured and effective way and to become much more process improvement focused. Tackling some of the “unspoken issues” has created a better team culture."
Steve Bellingham, MD, Rare Creative